Resveratrol vs pterostilbene (terro-still-bean) will answer the question: Which is better?
You have probably heard or read about resveratrol, found in grapes and red wine, and its antioxidant activity. It explains the French paradox where in the southern reaches of France people with poor health habits seem to thrive and have very few health issues. It’s amazing.
But it has a cousin, pterostilbene, found in blueberries. I think most people know about the antioxidant and excellent health properties of blueberries. Well, pterostilbene is a big reason why.
Resveratrol and pterostilbene are very similar in molecular structure and effects. They are in the same family of Stilbenoids, found in plants, which helps them protect themselves from viral, bacterial, fungal attack and excess sunlight. Resveratrol has hydroxyl groups in its molecular chain and pterostilbene has methoxyl groups in its chain. We’ll talk about why this is important further on in this article.
They both are great for our health. But one is more bioavailable than the other. Which one? Keep reading to find out.
Where They Come From
Resveratrol is found primarily in red grapes. Pterostilbene is found primarily in blueberries. Both help protect their respective fruits and can have the same effect in our bodies. It’s interesting to note that pterostilbene has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since its first recorded use in 400 AD.
Effects on Blood Pressure
Both resveratrol and pterostilbene have shown promise in reducing blood pressure. It is thought that resveratrol accomplishes this because it adds nitric oxide into the blood which relaxes the blood vessels, making it easier for blood to circulate. With pterostilbene, it seems to be most effective for people with high cholesterol for lowering blood pressure (Patel, 2019).
Effects on Cholesterol
Apparently, tests have shown that while both resveratrol and pterostilbene work to lower bad cholesterol in the blood, pterostilbene beats out resveratrol in its effectiveness to raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL), according to Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D. (2015). It seems to work better if you take Grape Seed Extract along with it.
Also, Examine.com’s Kamal Patel (2019), noted that higher doses of pterostilbene tended to increase cholesterol instead of lower it, so he recommends taking under 50 mg twice daily.
There are supplements that have both pterostilbene and resveratrol in it so you could alternate days with grape seed extract, which has resveratrol in it.
Effects on Brain Health
Resveratrol has neuroprotective effects. So does pterostilbene. In fact, they both reduce amyloid-beta, the stuff that if it gets out of control, causes the amyloid plaques that are part of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They both are anti-oxidants but according to Mittledorf (2015), pterostilbene performs a little better under the microscope.
In addition, he noted a study showing that in rats, the development of AD was delayed but not with resveratrol. And with a simple decline in memory in older rats, pterostilbene worked best in bringing memory back than all the stilbenes (including resveratrol).
Another study by Meng et. al (2019) studied amyloid-beta levels in the brain and its neurotoxicity using pterostilbene. They did note that resveratrol is known to help these but it doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) as readily as pterostilbene, making it a potential key player in preventing and treating AD in the future.
They concluded at the end of their study that pterostilbene protects neurons against amyloid-beta and promotes cognitive function.
Apparently, we have the same genes at birth as we have later in life. Mittledorf (2015) notes that aging all about the expression of those genes and when they turn on or off that determines how we age and what happens in our bodies.
There are studies showing that pterostilbene and resveratrol may turn off the harmful genes later in life. But other studies say they don’t. So the jury is still out on their anti-aging properties. But with all the other benefits, why not try it?
It’s been found that resveratrol has a 20% absorption rate following oral ingestion. Pterostilbene has an 80% absorption rate. Wow! Examine.com noted that pterostilbene is better absorbed with food.
This is where the difference between being a hyrdroxyl or a methoxyl comes in. Methoxyl is more easily absorbed in the stomach lining so pterostilbene is the winner for bioavailability.
Where We Are Now
Both resveratrol and pterostilbene have great health benefits. Antioxidants, excellent brain benefits, lowering of cholesterol and high blood pressure, and maybe even anti-aging. I think it’s a good idea to get both of these, either through grapes and blueberries or in supplement form. It’s a little harder to keep fresh fruit around right now, but if you can, awesome! If not, I’ll include some links to help you get started.
I plan to take grape seed extract and alternate days with pterostilbene. Grape seed extract lasts in the body for three days, so it’s okay to skip a day and take pterostilbene that day. Don’t wait to get started with resveratrol and pterostilene. Check out these options:
Thanks so much for reading today. I hope you learned something more about resveratrol vs pterostilbene. I know I did in the writing.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Comments section below.
Meng J, Chen Y, Bi F, Li H, Chang C, Liu W. Pterostilbene attenuates amyloid-β induced neurotoxicity with regulating PDE4A-CREB-BDNF pathway. Am J Transl Res. 2019;11(10):6356‐6369. Published 2019 Oct 15.
Mittledor, J. (2015). Pterostilbene vs Resveratrol. Retrieved May 20, 2020 from http://www.pterostilbene.com/pterostilbene-vs-resveratrol/
Patel, K. (2019). Pterostilbene. Retrieved May 20, 2020 from https://examine.com/supplements/pterostilbene/research/#neurology_memory-and-learning